My Interview Setup

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Main Posts Background Image

May 27, 2015

My Interview Setup

adventscape, Alan Aragon, Athletic IQ, Australian Tour, fitness, health, interview, iori, nutrition, Paolo Baja, Philip Avellana, Robbie Frame, seminar
Paolo Baja, Alan Aragon, Robbie Frame

Alan Aragon is doing his Australian tour.  Despite his busy schedule, Athletic IQ managed to grab some of Alan's time to do an interview.  Paolo manages to arrange the interview and includes the Phenom Robbie in the scene.  

The Actors

They're not really actors.  It's just a cool name I put to the subjects of my video.

Interviewee:  Alan Aragon
Interviewers: Paolo Baja, Robbie Frame

I ensured that these guys are very relaxed.  I want the interview to go as smoothly as possible without any consciousness on the camera.  Both Paolo and Robbie are very good as well accommodating Alan and made all the interview relaxing.  All I did as sit and learn.

Gear List

In doing the interview, I have specific items that I used.  I broke it down to 3 categories to easily identify which items are missing and which items are needed.  The categories are video, lighting and audio.  Please refer to the list below:

  • Nikon D800e body
  • Sony A7s body
  • Metabones (Nikon to EF mount)
  • Nikon Nikkor 24-70mm F/2.8
  • Nikon Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8 VRII

  • Yongnuo YN-300 II LED Light
  • Yongnuo YN-168 LED Light
  • 2 x Air cushioned light stands
  • 1 x Boom stand

  • Zoom H4n Audio Recorder
  • Rode Videomic
  • Audio Technica ATR3350IS Omnidirectional Lav/Lapel/Lavalier Mic

adventscape, Alan Aragon, Athletic IQ, Australian Tour, fitness, health, interview, iori, nutrition, Paolo Baja, Philip Avellana, Robbie Frame, seminar
Paolo Baja and Alan Aragon

Lighting Setup

When I first arrived at the location, I noticed that one of the sides of the boardroom is a whole window!  This is great to give that soft window-light that we all wanted, and it's continuous light.  This becomes my main light.  The light coming from this window is enough to light up the whole room.

Interestingly, fluorescent lights are placed near one side of the room.  If you watched the video, the fluorescent lights are near the wall with the banner.  This is good for me as I can use this as hair light.  

So my 2 lights YN-300 and YN-168 where just used as fill light.  They mainly concentrate on the interviewer's side of the table.  The interviewers are at the opposite side of the window.  The interviewee (Alan) sit near the window.  Thus, the interviewers have less light coming from them compared to the interviewee.

Since the ambient lighting is bright enough, I didn't used too much power on my lights.  I didn't go on 1/2 power if I recall.  Since it's just fill light, it's just used to open up the shadows a bit.

adventscape, Alan Aragon, Athletic IQ, Australian Tour, fitness, health, interview, iori, nutrition, Paolo Baja, Philip Avellana, Robbie Frame, seminar
Robbie Frame and Alan Aragon

Camera Setup

I only have to cameras that would capture this interview.  So what I did is that, the A7s captured wide (interview + interviewee).  The D800e was zoomed (interviewee).  Before the start of any interview, I ensure that both cameras are framed correctly.  I also said some guidelines to them so that they don't move too much that they'll be out of the frame.

This is the advantage of 2 cameras as I can grab which video I want to show in a particular conversation.  During the editing, if Alan moved too much on his left and was cut out of the frame in the D800e, then I can switch easily to A7s footage and the whole scene is complete again.

Generally speaking, these guys just stood (or sat) in place.

Audio Setup

I have 3 ways of capturing Audio:
  • Rode Videomic
  • Audio Technica ATR3350IS
  • Zoom H4n's External mic
Among these 3, I only used the first 2.  After watching and hearing my audio files, both the Rode and Audio Technica gave crisp audio.  I think the Audio Technica (being clipped at Alan) has a crispier audio compared to the Rode Videomic.  But still, Rode's output is good enough that I'll use it without hesitation.  This maybe due (referring to Rode Videomic) to the small boardroom and almost no presence of ambient noise.

The lav mic always goes to the interviewee (Alan).  This ensures that the answer is always clear and crisp.  Fortunately, the interviewers' (Paolo & Robbie) voices are loud enough to be picked up by the mic on the same level.  Since the lav mic is omnidirectional, meaning it captures audio on a wide aspect, I just told the interviewers to modulate their volume a little louder.  

Room for Improvements

My setups above are what I know and understand.  It doesn't mean that it's practical nor it will work.  But generally, my setup works and I'm happy with what I've got.  But there are some room for improvements.

You always learn something new from an activity.  Mostly what you learn from the field are those that you don't learn on theories.  So what did I learned from the interview? 

  1. Item List - I know it's hard to list all the items you bring, but it's essential for you to know what you're missing.  This also becomes a check list so that you know what items you have brought so you can gather them altogether after the shoot.  In this shoot, I thought I brought only 1 tripod, but good thing, my other tripod was hiding on the back seat.  So it's best to know and see the items before you pack them up.
  2. More Cameras - I'd like to have more cameras so that I can also get a close up shot of the interviewers.  Since I only have 2, I have a wide shot of the whole scene plus a close up shot of the interviewee.  This makes editing a bit interesting.
  3. Remove all Cellphones - this maybe the biggest take away for this interview.  The signals on mobile phones messes up the recording of H4n & Rode.  Next time, I'll ensure that all mobile phones are removed from the location.  This can be done by turning off the mobiles phones as well.
  4. Hand Signals - there are times that the interviewer are going beyond their frame.  So it's best to arrange hand signals with them so that the cinematographer could tell the interviewer (or interviewee) that they are going beyond the frame.

Final Thoughts

The whole interview was a success.  Not only in terms of cinematography, but also from the walk as well.  I learned a couple of things that were discussed in the interview.  

Although I found some room for improvements, generally I got it right.  It's only that mobile phones should be turned off, or be kept outside the boardroom that should be made before the start of any interview.  

The final videos are already up in my Youtube Channel, but I'll embed them in this blog post as well.  

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